I received a tip that there is new construction underway at 30 Los Patos Way in Montecito, the former home of Café del Sol, that ended their 50-year run last September.



Owner Ruben Perez at Black Sheep restaurant, 26 East Ortega Street, tells me that they will be featured on an episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” and that a filming crew paid them a visit last week. They cooked a three course meal for some of the winners from the show.

1 Comment


Two weeks ago I published the names of South Coast restaurants serving a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving day. I found a few more to add to the list. In Santa Barbara you can go to Bucatini and Relais de Paris. Reader Laura tells me that in Santa Ynez Valley you can enjoy Thanksgiving at Greenhouse Café, Hadsten House Restaurant, Mirabelle Inn & Restaurant, Red Viking Restaurant, River Terrace Restaurant & Bar, Root 246, Solvang Restaurant and Viking Garden Restaurant.

Leave a comment


Reader Jessica asked me for a total count of the number of restaurants on the South Coast. You might think that The Restaurant Guy would know this but I actually had no clue so I took it upon myself to find out.

I quickly realized that this project will result in some hate-mail because coming up with an answer requires me to define what a “restaurant” is, and what the “South Coast” is, which will result in the exclusion of some businesses in our all-inclusive society. Get your tar and feathers ready.

I started with the total number of food and drink businesses listed in the Restaurant Guide which covers the region from Carpinteria to Goleta with a smattering of Santa Ynez. I then subtracted out smoothie shops, juice shops, food trucks, food carts, dessert destinations, bakeries that don’t offer made-to-order lunch items, coffee shops that don’t offer made-to-order lunch items, markets that don’t have a deli/taqueria, and any business in Santa Ynez Valley.

The magic number? 529.



Reader Primetime tells me that Here’s the Scoop at 1187 Coast Village Road in Montecito will be moving from downstairs to the front of the building, upstairs.

Leave a comment


This just in from owner Paul Freeman:

“Hi John, I’ve recently opened a new restaurant that provides take-out/delivery to busy families that want to order in something other than pizza. It’s called Freeman’s Flying Chicken and we specialize in rotisserie chicken, tasty salads, sides and a number of unique sauces. Our first location is at Earl Warren near the roller rink and we’re delivering to the whole Upper State/ Samarkand/Hidden Valley area (but anyone can pick up food) You can find our menu and order online at or you can call us at 805-765-9200. We’re open 4-9pm 7 days a week.”



Readers John, Johnny and Jonathan let me know that Tino’s Italian Grocery has opened at 210 West Carrillo Street which also means that Santa Barbara’s legendary “Super Deluxe” torpedo sandwich is available once again. I enjoyed more than a few of those while attending Santa Barbara High School.

This is the specialty market and deli’s 3rd local home since 1947. The man who served popular torpedo sandwiches to Santa Barbara residents for 67 years, Valentino “Tino” Ziliotto, owner of the Italian Grocery & Deli when it was at De la Guerra Street and also Olive Street, died January 2nd at the age of 86. Family pictures on the wall, remind everyone of Tino and the store’s heritage.

The specialty market offers a wide variety of products including wine, beer, Argentinean goods, Italian products, cookies, flours, pasta, seafood, cold cuts, cheeses and holiday items. “We are not excessively expensive,” says Tino’s niece Deanna Morinini. “We will try and meet everyone’s price point. We don’t want to be a specialty market that’s over priced. We want to cater to everybody. We have a deli that has been part of everyone’s life and we don’t want to exclude anybody.” The hours, which are subject to change, are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The deli will close at 7 p.m. Call 966-6041.




The Gobble Song is a Thanksgiving tradition from Santa Barbara’s popular band Spencer the Gardener and The Restaurant Guy has a Thanksgiving tradition, too: Each November my email inbox is swamped with the same question: Which restaurants serve a traditional turkey meal on Thanksgiving Day? Last week The Restaurant Gal and I made a hundred phone calls to find the answer for you. Make reservations early because many places will be sold out weeks in advance. For the 8th year in a row I present to you a list of restaurants offering Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 27th:

  • Arlington Tavern, 770-2626
  • Ballard Inn Restaurant, 688-7770
  • Bella Vista at Four Seasons Biltmore, 969-2261
  • Bistro 1111 at Hyatt, 730-1111
  • Bistro at Bacara Resort, 968-0100
  • Blush Restaurant and Lounge, 957-1300
  • Bouchon, 730-1160
  • Brasil Arts Café, 845-7656
  • Brothers Restaurant at Red Barn, 688-4142
  • Bucatini, 957-4177
  • Ca Dario, 884-9419
  • Cadiz, 770-2760
  • Cold Spring Tavern, 967-0066
  • Creekside Buffet at Chumash Casino, 686-0855
  • Crocodile Restaurant at Lemon Tree Inn, 687-6444
  • Doubletree Resort, 884-8533
  • El Encanto, 845-5800
  • El Torito, 963-1968
  • Eladio’s, 963-4466
  • Finch & Fork at Canary Hotel, 879-9100
  • Fresco Café Five Points (side-dishes & dessert only, take-out only, 3 days notice required), 967-6037
  • Frog Bar & Grill at Glenn Annie Golf Course, 968-0664
  • Harbor Restaurant, 963-3311
  • Harry’s Plaza Café, 687-2800
  • Holdren’s, 965-3363
  • Hungry Cat, 884-4701
  • Jack’s Bistro & Bagels Carpinteria (eat-in or take-out, 3 days notice required for take-out), 319-0155
  • Joe’s Café, 966-4638
  • Julienne, 845-6488
  • Louie’s at the Upham Hotel, 963-7003
  • Marmalade Café, 682-5246
  • Miro at Bacara Resort, 968-0100
  • Moby Dick Restaurant, 965-0549
  • Montecito Wine Bistro, 969-7520
  • Mulligans Cafe, 682-3228
  • Petit Valentien, 966-0222
  • Petros in Los Olivos, 686-5455
  • Plow & Angel at San Ysidro Ranch, 565-1724
  • Relais de Paris, 963-6077
  • Root 246, 686-8681
  • Roy, 966-5636
  • Sage & Onion (take-out only, 3 days notice required), 845-4134
  • Seagrass, 963-1012
  • Shoals Restaurant at Cliff House Inn, 652-1381
  • Sly’s (take-out only, 10 days notice required), 684-6666
  • Stella Mare’s, 969-6705
  • Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, 565-1724
  • Tee-Off Restaurant, 687-1616
  • The Black Sheep, 965-1113
  • The Outpost at The Goodland Hotel, 964-1288
  • Treehouse Restaurant, 687-2426
  • Willows at Chumash Casino, 686-0855
  • Wine Cask, 966-9463

Read comments on Edhat



The Restaurant Kid was born last September 16th and, ever since, the The Restaurant Gal and I have been learning on the job what it takes to be parents. The first thing we learned, of course, is that you need to adjust to life with less sleep. The second thing we learned is that one of the best ways to try to calm an otherwise inconsolable baby is to carry him around in a front-facing backpack called an Ergo Baby. It works like magic. The third thing we learned is that raising a newborn means you get behind in everything else you do in your life. For example I hadn’t checked the Rumor Machine in months where I used to check it daily. I finally plugged it in yesterday and out popped a sheet of recycled paper that read: “Celebrity chef Cat Cora may be opening a restaurant any day now in the Funk Zone.” As always, this rumor might be completely false or a brilliant forecast of future events. Your call.



Reader Primetime reports that the tastiest course in town is served up at Santa Barbara City College.

Leave a comment


Simply Pies at 5392 Hollister Avenue in Goleta, which closed in mid-October, has reopened under new ownership.



Last February Pace Restaurant at 413 State Street, which opened in early 2012, announced that they were going to give away their restaurant for free. A Santa Barbara Independent story by food columnist George Yatchisin said this unusual giveaway included the restaurant, a beer and wine license, the lease paid for a year, insurances paid for a year and $20,000 in working capital to help cover your expenses. The story ended up making national news.

In April the contest was cancelled and now owner Jeff Snyder tells me the business has been sold:

“Hi John,
Just wanted to shoot you an email and let you know that we have sold our location on lower State St., just the location not the Pace brand. Our boys have spun off to live their lives after realizing that the restaurant business isn’t for them. Kim and I will begin searching for a new location off State St. after the holidays. I will keep you informed as to where we land.
Jeff Snyder”



This just in from owner Deeahna Arrieta:

Every restaurant has its core of customers who become like family.  Some of you have been with us through two restaurants, and your encouragement has been a beacon of strength over the years.  Adama at 428 Chapala Street will tentatively have its last day on Saturday, November 15th, and we will miss you terribly.  The sale is not yet set in stone, but we are hopeful.

Two years ago we started thinking about moving to a smaller building with more foot traffic.  Then we decided to focus on the gelato and wanted to open a store on State Street.  Now that Adama might actually change hands (although it will be a sushi bar) the situation has changed.  I have some big decisions to make, but it seems that love might call me to another country.  A man who had been a friend and mentor for years in the past has come back into my life in a different way.

It has been a great run working with my dear friend Marsha who I met in Bible college 34 years ago, the only two Jewish girls there; go figure :)  We have grown in so many ways through tears, prayers, battles, victories, and most of all…laughter.   We managed to stay friends (no small feat working together every day in a stressful business) and she might just be doing something with our gelato still.  If you are interested in being able to purchase it, make sure you send us your email address ( or become a Facebook follower.

Our hope is that you will graciously forgive us our many failures and remember the things we did well, and rejoice with us as we close one chapter and look forward to the next.  A million thanks.




After intense concentration and a wave of my hand over the all-knowing crystal ball, my eatery oracle has revealed a list of locations appearing in your future:

  • Caffe Primo, 516 State St. & 34 W. Carrillo St.
  • Del Taco, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • Dunkin’ Donuts, Santa Barbara (2 locations)
  • Farmer Boy Restaurant, 3427 State St. (remodeling under new ownership)
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs, 3325 State St.
  • Kyle’s Kitchen, 5723 Calle Real, Goleta (formerly Quizno’s)
  • Lilac Patisserie, 1017 State St.
  • Lure Fish House, 3815 State St. (formerly Ruth’s Chris)
  • Nona’s Italian Deli, 415 E. De la Guerra St. (formerly Italian Grocery)
  • On the Alley, Goleta near Costco
  • Patxi’s Pizza, 515 State St. (formerly Territory Ahead)
  • Pizza Hut, 5915A Calle Real, Goleta (formerly YoYumYum)
  • PizzaRev, 12 W. De la Guerra St. (currently Kahuna Grill)
  • R+D Kitchen, Coast Village Rd.
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 5934 Calle Real, Goleta (moving from 6025 Calle Real)
  • Rusty’s Pizza, 111 State St. (moving from 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.)
  • Smart & Final Extra, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)
  • Subway, 1936 State St.
  • Taco Bell, Hollister Ave. at Pacific Oaks Rd., Goleta
  • Tino’s Italian Grocery, 210 W. Carrillo St. (formerly Carrow’s)
  • Unknown, 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd. (inside Santa Barbara Inn)
  • Zizzo’s Coffee, 7000 Hollister Ave., Goleta (Hollister Village Plaza)


This just in from reader Papa John:

“A friend of mine just came back from a real estate conference and said that she heard that Islands Restaurant is sniffing around for retail space in Goleta.”



Reader Alan says that Captain Fatty’s Craft Brewery has opened in November at 6483 Calle Real, Unit D, in Goleta.



Readers Richard, Brendan and Jonathan tell me that Marquee Cocktail Bar at 1212 State Street has closed. A new bar called Good Lion Cocktail Bar is opening in its place.

1 Comment


On honor of “National Make a Difference Day” in mid-October, the Spanish Garden Inn, Inn at East Beach and The Morgan Hotel teamed up under the Broughton Hotel umbrella to make and distribute 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sack lunches for charity. They were delivered to the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club, Transition House, Doctors Without Walls, Casa Serena, New House III, Santa Barbara Rescue Mission and Casa Esperanza.

1 Comment


My annual Thanksgiving Restaurant List will be published in this blog and the Santa Barbara Independent on Thursday, November 13th.



Reader Primtime, a judge at last weekend’s Santa Barbara Chowder Festival, tells me that Three Pickles Deli won for Overall Champ, Best Clam Chowder Champ, and People’s Choice Award. The Chase Restaurant won for Best Creative chowder.

1 Comment


Reader Jay let me know that University Plaza Quizno’s at 7127 Hollister Avenue in Goleta closed in October.



Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro at 516 State Street closed on October 31st. In its place at a future date will be Caffe Primo, which has locations at 8590 Sunset Boulevard and 612 S Flower Street in Los Angeles. I am told by Pierre Lafond that Caffe Primo hopes to open before the holidays.

Leave a comment


It started with a rumor in this column in August, 2013. I posted a follow-up story last September indicating that the rumor is true and that negotiations were in the final stages. I can now confirm that Lure Fish House has signed a lease for a space in La Cumbre Plaza, 121 South Hope Avenue, to take over the spot previously occupied by Ruth’s Chris Steak House, immediately next to Macy’s. Lure Fish House will open in 2015 and take over two-thirds of Ruth’s Chris instead of the entire location. Lure Fish House has locations in Ventura, Camarillo and Westlake.




Rincon Brewery opened October 20 at 5065 Carpinteria Avenue in Carpinteria and readers tell me that packed crowds have been seeking the seaside suds every night.

Their web site offers this description: “Rincon Brewery is dedicated to providing the highest quality, full-flavored, malt beverages. Our inspiration originates from the beautiful Rincon Beach coastline to the fresh, thriving local Carpinteria farmlands. Combined, these “waves of grain” provide the ideal blend that define the essence of Rincon Brewery. With a strong commitment to preservation and restoration of our natural environment, we promise to bring you the freshest, most exceptional, hand-crafted beers the Central Coast has to offer. Our vision is to create an environment at Rincon Brewery, where along with serving the finest beers, friendships will be made, businesses will be shaped and conversations will be cultivated.”

The food menu includes soup of the day $7, Carpinteria salad $10, kale salad $15, fried chicken salad $12, hummus $7, grilled artichoke $7, potato chips $5, sweet potato fries $7, buffalo wings $9, french fries $6, onion rings $6, corn bread dusted dill pickle spears $7, cheesy bacon beer dip $8, sliders $9, beer braised brat $14, fish n (actual) chips $12, tacos $10, the basic burger with cheese $11, RB burger $14, tarpitz pie $7, cookie & cream $7, rootbeer float $5 and stout float $7.

The beer menu includes Bates Blonde, Mac Brown, 684 Saison, Indicator IPA, Rivermouth Stout, La Reina Lager, Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Warrior Pride Red Ale.

Rincon Brewery is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information call 684-6044 or visit


Leave a comment


Zizzo’s Coffee at 370 Storke Road has signed a lease to be a tenant in the upcoming Hollister Village Plaza currently under development across from Camino Real Marketplace. The other two confirmed tenants are Smart & Final Extra! and Supercuts. Zizzo’s new space will be 1,450 sf and will emphasize beer and wine in addition to coffee. The smaller Storke Road location currently has an application to begin serving beer and wine.

Sharing a driveway with Storke Road Zizzo’s is a self-serve car wash that will be replaced by a Fuel Depot. The new 1,667 sf development will include a drive-in car wash, a self-serve car wash and gas fueling dispensers. Thanks to reader Cris for the tip!



Today, Tuesday October 28th, The Natural Cafe at 5892 Hollister Avenue in Old Town Goleta closed permanently starting at 3:00 p.m. Tomorrow,  Wednesday October 29th, The Natural Café reopens in Camino Real Marketplace at 11:00 a.m., immediately next door to the Hollister Brewing Company, in a space once occupied by a Hallmark Store.  Manager Marco Hernandez tells me that the Camino Real Marketplace location has a brand new kitchen but everything else remains the same including the staff, menu and hours. Patio dining is available in the front of the business. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information call 692-2363 or visit Thanks to reader Cris for the tip!


Leave a comment


prlLast March The French Table restaurant 129 E. Anapamu Street was sold and became Piano Gastrolounge. I am now told the business has been updated again and the new name is Piano Riviera Lounge. The business is run by Chef/General Manager Stephen Goularte and musician Fabrice Allain, two local tastemakers and seasoned veterans in the hospitality and entertainment industry.

“I feel very fortunate to partner with Stephen and Fabrice who understand the Santa Barbara culture and community, and see the extraordinary opportunity to integrate our casual culinary approach to good food and drinks into the experience,” said Michael Ganz, owner of Piano Riviera Lounge. “They have created the perfect fusion of food, music, art and culture, and we’re excited to share it with everyone.”

Under the culinary direction of Goularte, whose passion and palate is inspired by casual Riviera cuisine (French, Italian, Spain and California), the menu features local farmer’s market fresh cuisine and seasonal favorites. The menu is inspired by the casual, fresh culture of the Rivieras and in addition to main entrees, a large selection of small plates are designed to be shared amongst friends, or romantic dinners on the patio terrace. At Piano Riviera Lounge, Goularte has created a selection of vegetarian options, seafood specials and a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas. The bar has an extensive beer and wine list featuring local favorites and prime picks from France and Italy, along with handcrafted, fresh fruit Soju cocktails and Sangrias.

Santa Barbara music and art aficionado Fabrice Allain offers a rhythmic blend of local music talent to compliment the pulsating sounds of world music. The baby grand piano is the highlight, and depending on the day, you can enjoy a solo pianist, an 8 piece jazz band, or DJ onstage.

Piano Riviera Lounge is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information call 882-0050 or visit



Hot Spots coffee shop at 36 State Street has closed. The building is scheduled to be demolished to make room for La Entrada de Santa Barbara.

1 Comment


Barbareño, a new restaurant located at 205 W. Canon Perdido Street, the former home of D’Vine Café, will be holding its grand opening on Wednesday, October 29th. Partner-chef Julian Martinez and chef de cuisine Owen Hanavan will be serving a menu focused on Central Coast cuisine, with an emphasis placed on contemporary interpretations of regional specialties and traditional dishes. General manager-partner Jesse Gaddy and Floor Manager Ryan Springmeier will be overseeing the dining room and service.

All the ingredient sourcing will be Californian, working primarily with ingredients from the Santa Barbara farmers market. The highly seasonal menu will have a selection of small plates like the Ranch Salad with little gems, house-cultured buttermilk, parsley vinaigrette, and sun gold tomatoes; larger plates include pork belly and loin with caramelized whey, strawberry nectar, and savory black walnut granola.

Jesse Gaddy, Lenka Davis, and Kris Brown are behind the beverage menu, which will focus on wines and beers solely from California, with a particular emphasis placed on the Central Coast. Wines will be offered by the bottle or by the glass, and three beers will be on tap, along with a selection of bottled brews. Coffee will be sourced from Santa Barbara-based Handlebar Coffee Roasters.

With a contemporary ranch-style design, the restaurant space is rustic yet refined.  The main dining room holds approximately 30 guests. A heated outdoor patio area, highlighted by a wood burning Santa Maria grill and smoker, will accommodate an additional 25 guests.

“Growing up here I always felt that the Central Coast was a really special place,” says Martinez. “With Barbareño, we hope to celebrate this area, bringing the culture and its environment to life. This will be a restaurant that could not exist anywhere else; a place that embodies where we are, how we got here, and the moment in which we’re living–where the food is not only locally sourced, but also locally inspired.”

Barbareño will be open for dinner service Wednesday through Sunday 5:30-10 p.m. Reservations can be made online at or by phone by calling 963-9591.

BARBAREÑO BOYS: Chef/co-owner Julian Martinez (right) and General Manager/co-owner Jesse Gaddy are opening a new restaurant in the former home of D’Vine Café.



Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro at 516 State Street has been sold and is set to close at the end of this month. In its place at a future date will be Caffe Primo, which has locations at 8590 Sunset Boulevard and 612 S Flower Street in Los Angeles. The official business name is Caffe Primo 101, LLC.

Caffe Primo offers house-roasted coffees and a variety of dining options. Specialties include paninis made with fresh artisanal breads, such as the Roasted Tomato, Fig and Goat Cheese Panini; fresh salads like the Signature Chop Chop with salami, turkey, provolone and individual pizzettas such as Prosciutto & Arugula and Pizza Margherita. Caffe Primo also offers premium gelato and sorbetto’s from Primo Gelato, which was named among the “Best of LA” by Los Angeles Magazine, one of the “top five ice creams in the city” by Angeleno.

Breakfast, which is served all day, includes items such as the succulent Crab, Swiss and Tomato Frittata and House baked Pastries, Muffins and Cookies. For more information visit Thanks to readers Matt and Brendan for the tips!

Related story: Will two Caffe Primos be opening downtown?

141023-pierre-lafond2 - Copy